Kids Can Make: Healthy Taco Popcorn

Nutritional yeast is our secret ingredient in this taco spice blend. Dried and not active, it's high in vitamin B12 and has a pleasant cheesy[ flavor, making it the perfect stand-in when dairy's not an option. (You can find it in the supplement aisles at grocery and health food stores.) For big and little kids: Let them help measure ingredients and toss the popcorn.]

Total Time:
15 min
5 min
5 min
5 min

Four 2-cup servings, plus leftover spice blend

  • Taco Spice Mix:
  • 20 large sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed; about 3 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Popcorn:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • Special equipment: a spice grinder

  • Make the Spice Mix: Put half the tomato strips in a single layer on a microwavable plate. Microwave in 30-second increments, checking the texture in between, until they begin to harden but are still red and slightly pliable, 1 to 2 minutes. (They may begin to brown and taste bitter if cooked too long.) Let sit until cool and completely hardened, about 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining tomato strips.

  • Transfer the cooled tomato strips to a spice grinder, and grind to a powder. Discard any pieces that won't grind. Add the nutritional yeast, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt, and grind to a fine powder.

  • Make the taco popcorn: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the popcorn kernels. When one pops, cover the pot, and cook, shaking the pot constantly, until the popping subsides to 1 pop every 20 seconds. Pour in the melted butter, and toss to coat. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of taco spice and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss again to coat.

  • Store the remaining taco spice blend at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. (You'll have enough to make 3 more batches of popcorn.)

  • Copyright 2015 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

Kids Warning: Note to parents: Never leave a child unattended in the kitchen. These recipes are appropriate for children of various ages, 4 to 10. When a recipe calls for cooking on the stove or using a paring knife, an adult should do those activities and let the child assist, if age appropriate.

If you find that your spice blend is a little coarse, use a fine sieve to sift it over the buttered popcorn. The finer dusting will coat the popcorn better.

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    This recipe is featured in:

    Healthy Meals for Kids